Illinois Election Board Declines To Bar Trump From State Primary Ballots

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The Illinois State Board of Elections decided unanimously on Tuesday to allow former President Donald Trump to appear on state primary ballots, after receiving a recommendation that the 2024 GOP candidate be removed for violating an insurrection provision in the U.S. Constitution.

The bipartisanIllinois board met Tuesday to discuss a petition opposing Trump that was filed by five voters in the state. Like filings in other states, the Illinois petition argued that Trump instigated an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and including his name on ballots would therefore violate a Civil War–era amendment making it illegal for insurrectionists to run for office.

Some board members said they believed they did not have jurisdiction over the question.

“I want it to be clear that this Republican believes that there was an insurrection on Jan. 6,” board member Catherine S. McCrory said at the hearing.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he manipulated, instigated, aided and abetted an insurrection on Jan. 6. However, having said that, it is not my place to rule on that today,” she said.

Clark Erickson, a retired Republican judge who presided over a recent hearing on Trump’s eligibility for office, wrote on Sunday that “a preponderance of the evidence” supported the arguments against Trump.

The election board’s decision, however, is likely to be appealed.

Ron Fein, legal director for Free Speech for People, the voting rights group that is representing the five Illinois voters, said in a statement over the weekend that he expects both the board and “ultimately Illinois courts” to uphold Erickson’s “thoughtful analysis.”

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on the subject in early February, after the high court agreed to take up Colorado’s decision to bar Trump from appearing on primary ballots there. So far, only Colorado and Maine have made such decisions.

Trump’s allies argue that removing him from ballots is undemocratic, and that the matter should be left to voters.

Several other states presented with the same question — California, Michigan and Arizona among them — decided that Trump should remain on their primary ballots.